Kashmiri Hindus’ Genocide Day 19th January
On Sunday 18th January,2015 ,Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus were joined by over 1000 members from various Hindu Organizations, dignitaries, Parliamentarians, UK Politicians, Hindu Activists, Councillors , Religious Saints and the Leaders of the various Faith groups to commemorate the 25 years of their exile from their homeland ,the Valley of Kashmir. The Solemn occasion was further graced by His Divine Pujya Shri Ram Bapaji’s and Acharya Vikasa Charyuluji’s presence. Also, over 200 Temples in the UK observed prayers to “Remember 25 Years of Exile of Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus”. The National Hindu Students Forum Chapters in the universities across the country held “Aartis” in Remembrance of the Exiled Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus. It was one the biggest and largest social action initiatives involving the Hindu Communities in the UK ,who simultaneously joined hands of support for the Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus.
The memorial event was opened by Virendra Sharma MP with a Havan/Shanti part and was later joined by Pujya Ram Bapaji and Barry Gardiner MP. After the prayers and the Havan, the guests were formally welcomed by the Temple Secretary. Ms. Muna Chauhan, HCUK, gave the introduction to the 25 years of exile of Kashmiri Pandits/ Hindus. Virendra Sharma MP, Barry Gardiner MP, Bob Blackman MP, Pritam Lal, First Secretary (Coordination ) of the Indian High Commission ,were felicitated by flower garlands by Krishna Bhan.
Barry Gardiner MP made a passionate speech about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus and described his experiences of visiting the Kashmiri Pandit refugee camps in Jammu .He further stated that he is hopeful that peace will return to the Valley of Kashmir and Kashmiri Hindus will go back to their homes.
Bob Blackman MP said “I am proud to be present as part of 25th anniversary commemorating the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley and Time for right to return and Reunification of Jammu and Kashmir”
Veranda Sharma MP stated that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and Kashmiri Pandits have every right to return to their homeland.
Pritam Lal ,First Secretary, the Indian High Commission said he will report back to the Indian Government about the proceedings of the event held in the UK to commemorate the 25 years of exile of Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus.
Sanjay Jagatia, General Secretary and Director of HCUK, said that Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus have been the target and victims of one of the most successful campaign of ethnic cleansing in the world. As a result, the rich cultural heritage of Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus is in decline. Hindu places of worship in the Valley have been burnt down, vandalized and damaged.
Krishna Bhan ,President Indo-European Kashmir Forum, said that the overwhelming support and the solidarity of the Hindu communities to raise the plight of Kashmiri Hindus has given Kashmiri Hindus a strong encouragement to strive hard and return to their homeland under the new Modi Government. She also thanked Sanjay Jagatia and Muna Chauhan, HCUK, for their tireless work and efforts to make the Commemoration event a huge success.
It was a great honour and privilege to have His Divine Grace Pujya Ram Bapaji reciting the Hanuman Chalisa , praying for the displaced Kashmiri Hindus. The whole atmosphere in the Temple was electrifying and vibrant.
Background information for the 25 years of exile of Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus
It has been long and dark 25 years that Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Hindus have spent in a forced exile.
Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus, a tolerant and liberal community towards the other faiths, tried their best to co-exist with majority Muslims in the Kashmir Valley till 1988 when the majority locals started speaking a different language altogether, terms such as Kafir, Jihad, unIslamic became prominently known. A weird flavour of Islam was showing up in the valley. The popularity of a fundamentalist political group, known as Muslim United Front was in line with this trend .Yasin Malik, Bitta Karate ,Shabir Shah, Mercenary retirees from Afghan war and the Islamic insurgencies around Bosnia and Africa joined them.
1989 was the watershed year of sorts, for the Valley and for the world at large .A wave of ethnic cleansing began. Pandits/Hindus were carefully selected out and killed in the coldest blooded fashion by the JK Liberation Front. Scores of Pandits/Hindus were killed. Many professional people were gunned down –just because they were Hindus. There was no sign of the Government intervention to stop this.
The night of 19 January,1990 ,the ISI and the mosques became hyper active all over the valley .There were slogans and songs blaring from all mosques saying “Islam khatra mein hai ” that Islam is in danger.””Aes gacche Pakistan ,Batav roste,Batnev saan”, we want Pakistan in Kashmir without Kashmiri Pandit/Hindu men but with their womenfolk”It was a night of chaos and madness, killing Pandits/Hindus all over the Valley. Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus recall the horror of waking up to hear the command to convert, die or escape.
Pandits/Hindus were in a shocked and frustrated state that the government was not able to stop this massacre. They had no option but to leave the valley towards Jammu, the winter capital of the State with Hindu majority. They believed that they were leaving temporarily, expecting to return just in a few weeks later when things would be calmer but little did they know that their return was not likely for decades and decades and for some it was never to be . They lost their most precious possession; they lost their homeland, the place of their birth. This day is recognized as the beginning of the process of ethnic cleansing in which Kashmiri Hindus were massacred and hounded out of the Kashmir Valley.
Jammu witnessed a sudden influx of Pandits/Hindus from the Valley and these Pandits/Hindus stayed in halls and temples initially but later the refugee camps were set up for them to live on a short term basis .They did not know that these camps were to become their permanent homes till today. They became refugees in their own land. Evicted from their own roots. Exiles from their own homeland .They fled from the Valley, leaving behind their homes, their property and their homeland to save themselves from the persecution at the hands of Islamic terrorists .There are still no answers about the exodus, the killings, the human rights violations
These 25 years have passed in promises, plans and packages but nothing concrete has been done for the Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus to rehabilitate them back in their original homeland. The community still lives in exile and is on the verge of extinction. Their property, their homes and places of worship have been vandalised and destroyed. 25 later the community still seeks justice.
Finally, IEKF and HCUK would like to express their gratitude and sincere thanks to ,the Hindu Forum of Europe, VHP (UK),the Nepalese Hindu Forum, the British Board of Hindu Scholars, the National Council of Hindu Temples ,the National Hindu Students Forum UK, Teliagu NRI Forum UK, the National Congress of Gujarati Organization ,Satkarma Humanitarian Youth Awaking Mission, for partnering with us and for joining us at Vishwa Kendra Hindu Temple, Southall, Middlesex, to commemorate the 25 years of exile of Kashmiri Pandits/Hindus.
Our sincere thanks to our overseas partners, Dr. Romesh Raina, General Secretary of All India Kashmir Smaja Delhi, Dr.Subramanian Swamy and Dr.Vijay Sazawal (US), International Co-ordinator of IEKF,IAKF and ICKF for their recorded messages and videos.
Indo-European Kashmir Forum is the voice of the displaced Kashmiri Hindus in India and in the Kashmir Valley. The Organization was founded in the late eighties with the support of the wider Indian communities. The Forum highlights the plight of Kashmiri Hindus who have become victims of terrorism. It also investigates violations of human rights of Kashmiri Hindus at the hands of terrorists organizations.
Hindu Council UK was founded in 1994 for all Hindus domiciled in the United Kingdom, combining all the Hindu faith denominations, whilst representing various Hindu communities and Hindus from different parts of the world settled in the United Kingdom. It’s main purpose was to give the UK Hindus an effective voice on policy matters with the Government of the day whilst enhancing mutual understanding among the major faiths predominant in the UK. Hindu Council UK is itself a non-partisan faith organisation.
For further information:
Please contact Krishna Bhan on 0788643 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanjay M Jagatia on 07969756164 or by e-mail email@example.com